No band attacks vocal harmonies with as much commanding intensity as Los Angeles-based La Luz. Their eerie brand of surf-rock has always had something cinematic about it, thanks in no small part to their deadly four-part crooning. Their latest outing, Floating Features, finds the band dragging those screen dreams into the open. It’s simultaneously their most immediately rewarding record and their slowest burning, holding you captive with vibrant production and razor-sharp songwriting. Make no mistake: Floating Features will turn you into a Luzer for life.
AdHoc caught up with lead singer and guitarist Shana Cleveland to dig into their latest concoction.
Floating Features is available now via Sub Pop.
AdHoc: Which song is the oldest on Floating Features?
Shana Cleveland: I’m actually not sure. I know that I wrote “Cicada,” “Walking Into the Sun,” and “Lonely Dozer” early on. I wrote those first few in Northern California and the rest in LA, where the band fleshed them out together.
You tend to put a few instrumentals on your records, just tracks where you and the band rock out and jam. Is that something that you feel is central to the identity of the band?
SC: I think it is. It’s fun to have that break. We have so many vocals, oftentimes with four-part harmonies through most of a song. So when we come back after this long instrumental break, it feels really triumphant to break in with these huge harmonies. I’ve listened to a lot of instrumental stuff—surf music and finger pickers like John Fahey—so I always appreciate an instrumental song. This record we just had one, and the others had two, but it was nice to put that one as the first track. Even though there’s only one, it has a very prominent place on the record.
The first time I saw FRIGS live was in Boston, at the tail end of a noise rock slump. Two years of fuzzed-out basement shows and a bad habit of forgetting my earplugs at home had left me at least a dozen decibels poorer in both ears and more than a little apprehensive about standing anywhere within striking distance of a cranked amp. But the Toronto rock scene is always a good bet, and with fellow Canadians HSY on the bill as well, I tucked those plugs into my pocket and followed my heart to Club Bohemia.
It’s a wonderful thing, brushing up against the unknown, but FRIGS went and ripped a hole straight through it that night. Despite their drummer pulling a second shift with HSY that tour, the band went off, sparing no one from the all-consuming, full-body roar they create on stage. Now that they’ve released their debut LP, Basic Behavior, you can get a taste of it off-stage as well.
The sound is tightly-wound, but deeply emotive. FRIGS hurl themselves at the wall of existential frustration, at times maintaining a stately post-punk pulse, occasionally erupting into frantic, borderline psychedelic hysterics as guitars, vocals, and drums lash out in panic-attack waves of delicious noise. From the ping-ponging slapback and measured thump of opener “Doghead,” to the slow inferno vibe-out of closer “Trashyard,” FRIGS aren’t here for your complacency. Basic Behavior is a record of action, a taste of what’s possible when you get up and do the damn thing.
Ahead of their show at Alphaville on March 3 with Bambara, Weeping Icon, Reverent, and Dean Cercone, AdHoc spoke to vocalist Bria Salmena about the record and misguided attempts to classify their ferocious sound.
Brooklyn producer R.E.L. keeps the tempo high and the rhythm driving on “906,” an outer-limits blend of acid-soaked keys and cavernous handclaps. It's a crate-digger’s dream, piling on infectious drums, sinister bass rumble, and divine ambient synths in search of that perfect dancefloor high.
The man behind the moniker, Ariel Bitran, has been cooking behind the scenes for quite some time, notably as a booker for gone-but-not-forgotten BK haunt Palisades, Sunnyvale, and currently, Mercury Lounge. Though he’s made the leap into Manhattan nightlife, Bitran remains firmly indebted to the scrappy ethos that carried him there. Via email, he explained to AdHoc that the sonic legacy of “906” is “in many ways a reaction to my personal discovery of the NY DIY dance/electronic scene while running Palisades.” Fresh, aggressive, and packed with instrumental flavor, “906” brings a vivid image of that scene to life.